An innovative partnership among academia, government, and private industry has created a unique opportunity for oceanographic and meteorological research on a cruise ship. The University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Royal Caribbean International, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Office of Naval Research have collaborated to establish two modern laboratories for oceanic and atmospheric research on the 142,000-ton Royal Caribbean ship Explorer of the Seas.
The Explorer of the Seas combines extensive research capabilities with public outreach. Hundreds of passengers experience the planet's atmosphere-ocean systems through laboratory tours and presentations given by experienced guest scientists and graduate students. In addition to weekly public lectures, guided tours of the ocean and atmospheric laboratories are available, and ocean-related films are shown during selected afternoons. Two interactive eco-learning areas onboard are equipped with a series of interactive displays and large informational touch screens that illustrate marine and atmospheric concepts as well as the onboard research program.